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The Vinalhaven Sightings Report is organized and edited by Kirk Gentalen on behalf of Vinalhaven Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Out and about on Vinalhaven, MCHT steward Kirk Gentalen reports on what he and others have seen in their travels. Contributions of stories and photos are welcome, and can be sent to


Friday, October 16, 2015

white-sided dolphins - photo (probably) by Flora Drury
Welcome to the Vinalhaven sightings report – October 15th, 2015
Sponsored by the Vinalhaven Land Trust and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Glasswort, Sea Pickle
photo by Karen Oakes

Highlights – “on the water” featuring sharks and dolphins, “on the land” featuring mushrooms and mushroom dayz, spider, similarities, grebes.

these things happen

As always - we encourage readers and non-readers to send in photos or stories of nature sightings you have made from around the island. or even just pictures of your kid doing something cute in nature. anyway - send them to and we'll plop them up here in the blog. (it does make a plopping sound).

tiit trick - click on photos to make them jumbo

this is a shark and a log
photo by John Drury
First off – from the place I was born –

Everyone has to check out the jersey devil footage in this article –

The video at the bottom of the article is priceless – apparently it is very popular on the internet, which gives me little faith in humans. But here we are spreading it! Like locusts.


("insert" phallic comment here)

Congrats – word is it that Patience and Patrick Trainor have completed a “trans-crossing” of the island (Vinalhaven). Going south to north (sometimes that’s the way it goes) they started in the dogtown area and wrapped up their trek at the thorofare. Check with them about the trip cuz as we know the “trans-crossing” is the most dangerous kind of crossing of the island. Many attempt it each year and many “trans-cross-attemptees” never return (the same or successful).  Which is alright if you think about it (try not to think too hard). Leif would love to find their glacier mummies. “I get the head” and congrats!

white-sided dolphins
photos by John Drury

Sightings - On the water – alrighty – here’s but a sample of the amazing stuff you will find at John Drury’s Skua Sightings blog -  .


matinicus rock and dolphins

tiit trick - click on photos to make them jumbo

Awesome photos and the non-chalant mackerel shark “chaffing at the log” is amazing.


what I think was a mackerel shark chaffing on log." whatever it is its awesome.
photos by john drury------->>>>>>>>


john did not get permission to use this dolphins likeness
and had to settle for "the neck down" or
"the neck and to the side"
Plus the “dolphin rump”.

Thanks John for sharing some of the cool sights you see out there. Have not heard much of the story of the day, but the Skua went out a little further than usual (Seal) and then beyond that and found some cool stuff. Check out his blog!
hurricane sound



similarity -
sunrise at Clark's Island
Ferry Rides – lots of Loons, bald eagles every trip, Guillemots, the occasional Northern Harrier passing by.  Ducks and seabirds should be hitting the bay soon, hope I get used to the lighting by then.


On the land -Most Numerous – from our limited time on island and from the reports of respected observers the conclusion is that Yellow-rumped Warblers, sometimes also known as the Myrtle Warbler or Butter-butts, are everywhere. Check Lane’s, check the woods, check your yard, and check the mainland. There are lots of them – look for that flash of yellow (the butter) at the base of the tail (the “royal” butt – the dorsal butt) when in flight!. Honorary mention – white-throated sparrow, robins, blue-headed vireo (many singing). Creepers singing, Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Lots of woodpeckers.

this deer is dead
and at state beach

while we are at it....its getting closer to "deer carcass dropping season", hit the basin bridge,vinal cove and state beach to look for eagles and other scavengers feasting on the tasty remains of recently deceased hoofed ones. 

"big mama" - photo by Rick Morgan

Spider Rick Morgan photographed this “big ol’ female” spider in a yard somewhere (could be Rick’s). We hit the Golden Guide to Spiders and their kin (best spider field guide) and it didn’t take too long to realize she’s an orbweaver of the Araneus genus (not impressive information, it’s the largest genus of spiders – over 1,500 species worldwide). But what was impressive is that the Golden Guide had examples of 6 Araneus species in North America drawn in the book and this one matches one of them! The Cross (or Grass) Spider, Araneus diadematus. Anyway, makes you wonder why we don’t see these ladies (dames?) all over the place. All information above taken from the Golden Guide.

cynabar red polypore
mainland and Crockett cove

 Some lists – (10/8) Huber- Mushrooms - Brick Tops (here and gone), Sulfur Tufts, Destroying Angel, Common Scaber Stalk, Citron Amanita, Painted Bolete, False Chantrelle, Silvery Grey Cort, Red-belted Conk (Roger that!), dye-makers polypore…Birds – Hermit thrush singing, Hairy Woodpecker, Golden-crowned Kinglet, 9 Surf Scoters, 6 Black Guillemot.

silvery grey corts

silvery grey cort with the cobwebby cortina


dark stalked bolete

decorated mop. cool name

Mill River area – (10/2) - Amanita muscaria, Yellow Patches, King Bolete!, Orange Scaber Stalk, Dark-stalked Bolete, Chrome Footed Bolete, Bitter Bolete, Violet brown Bolete, Birch Bolete, Chicken-fat Suillus (8 bolete hike! – eat that liverworts!), Destroying angel, Decorated Mop, False chanterelle, Orange Jelly, Blackening Russula, Green Stain, Dye-makers, Wooly Velvet Polypore, Birch Polypore, Chocolate Milky, Fawn Mushroom, Thin-maze Gilled Polypore, Coral, Rufus Milky, Orange delicious, Scaly-capped Amanita, emetic Russula…Birds – Kingfisher, nuthatch, kinglets,

painted suillus


Mushroom dayz – (10/2) some folks may have heard me mumbling on this summer about looking forward to King Boletes on the mainland this fall. “Something you don’t find much of on Vinalhaven” I could have said (but I didn’t). Well, monitoring with Colleen Conlan along Mill River and then spending some time at Huber was like an “eye-opening/awakening open fist slap”! And a good one at that.



the thing with the ring is my hand for size comparison
the thing below my hand is a healthy sized King!
The place (the island!) was loaded with mushrooms and more importantly – Kings! The roadsides (airport even!) the fields, the woods. I estimated about 36 Kings (or three dozen in the metric system – but not in the baker’s system!) – best day (if focusing strictly on numbers) I have had (porcini-ly speaking) since Alaska (those were pre-VSR days). What a sentence.

there is no feeling quite like turning
a corner and finding king.

Anyway, and so it wasn’t just about the kings – it was an8 bolete day.  Scaber-stalks and Kings made it home and were eaten happily by myself and Leif. But it wasn’t just about the boletes, there were lots of other shrooms to check out.


Actually, the whole woods were just bloomin’ with the shrooms.  After such a dry summer it was fun having a day filled with “Fungal spore dispersal treasures” (or “FSDT”), with plenty to share.  


day 2

day 1

If you think round is funny- The funny thing was that we (a real “We”) saw this king bolete thing coming from a mile away. We had a nice bloom of Amanita muscarias pop up along our driveway. Leif spotted the group and we let them grow for a few days and disperse before turning some into our own spore prints.

day 3

What does this have to do with Boletes? Well, in Mushrooms Demystified (mushroom bible) it is mentioned that Kings and Amanita muscarias come up at about the same time  - in California its “two weeks after the first significant rain” (of winter). Both Amanita muscarias and Kings (and about another hundred mushrooms) responded to this rule – sort of. And I have noticed a similar pattern here in Maine in the timing of Amanita muscarias and Kings (in my limited King Bolete tracking experience).
and a destroying angel



 And so we saw these Amanitas and were getting excited for Kings on the mainland – only to find all the kings (to this date) one day on Vinalhaven. Nothing on the mainland. So classic. Thank you timing!
splash cups, some species are known as birds nest fungus


chocolate tube slime

dead raccoon in the yard - 31 Reach Road
almost makes a "Y"

Similarity – apparently raccoons die on vinalhaven and on the mainland. This one is in the yard at 31 Reach Road. Waiting for scavengers….


dead raccoon - St. George Town Forest
…this one was along (Big Al) Jones Brook in the St. George town forest. Leif and I always seem to find something dead out there…
And so with that all in mind we wrap up this edition with some photos of people....
leif loving creek walks....
creek cone
apparently not in the middle of nowhere


cub scout!

schönen Fisch!!!!
photo by Mia

PS - as we gear up for hunting season we welcome Dylan, son of Gabe and Adrianna, loving twin of Mia, to the fishing club within the hunter/gatherer world as he caught his first fish - "right out of lawsons"!
Give this guy a high five for the fish next time you see him!
and give him a big "schönen Fisch". He deserves it. First fish a bass, he's not messing around.
no word on bait used, or if it was mentioned I spaced it.
Cormorants south of Hay
Photo by Kerry Hardy
Hodge-podge -
"they were so big that it would
take the arms of several strong men
to dislodge them from the earth"
-Estonian Bolete Legend/Fable/Psalm
photo by Colleen Conlan

"Who could use a beard"
I have almost as many chins (5-6) in this picture as
the number of boletes found that day (8).
photo by Colleen Conlan

did this peep have yellow(ish) legs?

Clark's Island sunrise

barred owl pellet

we love that shaggy stalk of the
Russell's Bolete

pear-shaped puffballs are often confused for pears

this beautiful lobster mushroom
was grilled and eaten by me and Leif!

tawny grisettes look as lovely as ever

we are not sure if there is a name for the event in this video, but I think it might be call "reflection".

see you out there! and thanks to all that shared!